Argentine Senate approves raids on Kirchner properties
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Argentine Senate approves raids on Kirchner properties

Former president denies wrongdoing, is one of the 67 lawmakers who voted to allow searches of homes in her possession

Former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner delivers a speech in Buenos Aires on June 20, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / EITAN ABRAMOVICH)
Former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner delivers a speech in Buenos Aires on June 20, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / EITAN ABRAMOVICH)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentine senators on Wednesday approved a judge’s request for authorities to carry out raids on properties owned by former President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner as part of a case investigating widespread corruption.

Kirchner is currently a senator and was one of the 67 lawmakers who voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

The former leader has denied any wrongdoing and had already agreed to the raids with some conditions. She has been accused of being responsible for a corruption scheme involving public works contracts that has ensnared many of Argentina’s former top officials and business elite.

The case has dominated headlines in Argentina since it broke out this month following an investigation by the newspaper La Nacion into alleged corruption over more than a decade during the governments of Kirchner and her predecessor and late husband, Nestor Kirchner.

La Nacion says the driver of one of the accused kept notebooks with detailed information on his deliveries of millions in bags of cash paid to former officials in exchange for the granting of public contracts from 2005 to 2015. Kirchner’s private address and the presidential residence are allegedly mentioned.

So far, 15 people have been arrested in the case. They include business leaders from construction companies and former officials who served in Kirchner’s 2007-2015 administration.

A federal judge had requested raids, including homes in southern Santa Cruz province and an apartment in Argentina’s capital. It’s unclear when the raids will take place.

The case has caused outrage in Argentina, prompting thousands to stage a protest Tuesday demanding the removal of her immunity from prosecution as a senator.

Kirchner faces several other court actions in separate cases involving alleged money laundering, possible illegal enrichment and fraud, as well as allegations that she worked to protect Iranian suspects implicated in the 1993 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

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